Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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Lincoln Daily News in 10th year of publishing in Lincoln and Logan County

Starting our 10th year, we remember our legacy from those before us

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[January 27, 2009]  The headlines blared the dire news, "Gas Prices Push the Limit at $1.39." It would be great to have that problem again wouldn't it? That top story was among the first to be offered by Lincoln Daily News nine years ago.

The mission statement of our publication was made clear in the first issue, Jan. 27, 2000, and we have not wavered from that mantra since day one. Then-editor Natalie Jeckel stated our purpose in being created when she said: "The Lincoln Daily News is devoted to telling the stories of our county, and I am delighted to be on the ground floor of this venture. I have learned that the good people of this area are hungry for publications that give voice to their human strivings, their accomplishments and their shared experiences. We will do our best to earn the loyalty of our readers. Lincoln Daily News will draw upon the talents of the community, featuring a variety of writers, photographers and people with opinions to share. In addition to each day's news stories, LDN will cover Logan County sports, weather, feature stories and reviews, commentary, and full reporting of the activities of Logan County organizations and businesses."

Nine years ago, the LDN was a vanguard in offering online news, with many area papers not yet embracing the new technology afforded by the Web. This process, this creation, improvement and dissemination of information is now firmly entrenched in our world. In that time LDN has been fortunate enough to have been in place long enough to understand what we can now do and what is expected of us.

The Internet today, via computers and modern imagery technology, now gives us our local news and opinion like never before. The Internet allows for us to not only present the news, but to make corrections or additions at any time of the day or night to make sure our readers keep abreast of local breaking news.

We at LDN understand, however, that the mechanisms used to deliver the newspaper have never been nor ever will be more important than the end result. Unquestioningly, a newspaper is defined not by how the words are gathered and displayed, but rather in what the words themselves convey. We are the offspring of more than two centuries of growth in how the community receives their news. We understand fully that we have a heritage to emulate and to follow each and every day we present our publication to you. We understand the history of the American newspaper and we take pride in that history.

From colonial times, when a dozen newspapers were printed in cellars and back rooms of taverns to give information and news to the colonists contending for their freedom, to the pages of modern-day newspapers, whether in print or electronically presented, they have been an instrument to not only present the news honestly, but to give dissent a means to be heard and entered into the public discourse.

The newspaper has evolved in the past 200 years, as have the delivery mechanisms of news and opinion. In our fledgling nation, the eastern newspapers rapidly grew into the most important means of information. They replaced the messengers and town criers with permanence to their information never before seen in the colonies. Unreliable gossip was replaced with a written account as, over and over again, the information was passed on from American to American.

As Americans traveled farther and farther west, they brought with them their traditions and beliefs and their desire to be informed. Newspapers in German, Gaelic, Dutch and a dozen other languages, as well as English, were founded and moved with the migration of the early settlers ever westward. Many early newspaper presses moved west in the back of a covered wagon along with food, water, ammunition and clothing. The need to be informed was already an important and integral part of the American settler.

By the mid-1800s, thousands of small papers in towns that were just as small dotted the American landscape. Communities such as Atlanta, Latham, Emden and Middletown all produced printed news reports, as more than 12,000 newspapers across the country went to press each day. The city of Lincoln bragged of having more than a half-dozen newspapers.

The early Lincoln newspapers, as did their contemporaries, carried the news of the world as well as local events and occasions. They were not the principal source of news; they were the only source of news. The early newspapers were the radio and television and Internet to every American who sought to be informed. Those papers, now almost all gone, were the lone instrument of the great experiment of freedom of speech and information in the early days of Logan County and all across America.

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The evolution in information-gathering and dissemination changed because of the newspaper. Citizens who gathered around the pot-bellied stoves of the general stores now talked of what they had read rather than what they had heard. The newspaper was becoming the eyes and the ears as well as the voice of the nation. The papers changed conversation from a discourse on what had happened a while ago to what had just occurred or was in the process of occurring. The information fed upon itself as the effects of being informed fueled individuals to seek still more information. Like the stoves themselves, newspaper readers consumed and demanded replenishment continually.

The early newspapers actually changed and united the culture of America as tens of thousands of immigrants learned to read and write English by using newspapers as their textbooks. Books were still not readily available in quantities necessary to feed the insatiable demands of avid new readers; and newspapers, with huge, pages-long stories of heroes and villains, made their way around towns until the papers' words were no longer legible enough to read.

As the 20th century moved through the decades, the newspaper continued to evolve with the times. Electronic broadcasting on radios and television news vied with and usurped the sole necessity of reading the paper. The early radio and television newsmen, of course, were all newspapermen who found the new mediums intriguing enough to make the change to these new mechanisms of information. Many papers floundered and closed during this evolution. Many changed with the times and continued to flourish as they found their niche, their strength in remaining viable. They realized that finding the pulse of their community and becoming the heart to pump the information their readers wanted to read into their pages made them as important to be read as the town crier of old was to be heard. In effect, by coming full circle, the newspaper had traveled back to its roots. Roots embedded and intertwined with the very purpose that made them grow two centuries before.

Now, thanks to all the room in the world, Internet publications are becoming as common to the reader as those old newspapers were to our ancestors centuries ago. As we move further into the 21st century, we are at the brink of greater changes in how communities receive their news.

Gone are space requirements and picture restrictions. We can deliver the full story with supporting details, studies, graphs, charts and links to the chronological development of an event or issue and to other related information. Pictures have greater clarity, and because they can be added in numbers, they can tell a story all by themselves.

Technological advancements have created a great new world of how news is currently presented, and this will continue to evolve in the upcoming years and decades.

It is our hope to keep up with these advances in such a way as to serve you with the best news product available. When LDN began as an online-only daily newspaper, we had a head start on most community news sources. It is our hope to keep up with the new ways, and to remember our legacy.

Most important to Lincoln Daily News has been the interaction with our community. You are what matters most and have put LDN here. Those who have contributed to the news since our first days are beyond number. We expressly appreciate all, and we wish to thank each and every one of you for your submissions and for reading.

The Lincoln Daily News staff thanks you!

[LDN staff]

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